Where does the saying "The crying baby gets the milk" come from? I don't think it's from English.

  • In Spanish we say "el que no llora, no mama", which is almost a literal translation of "the crying baby gets the milk". – user42700 Apr 17 '13 at 21:22
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    @Gus That's stretching the meaning of "literal" quite a lot. – RegDwigнt Apr 17 '13 at 22:43
  • @Reg ... hence "almost", perhaps? I believe the point Gus was making is valid; while the phrase is not a word for word direct translation, the underlying meaning is obviously extremely similar. – David John Welsh May 11 '13 at 5:03
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    @DavidJohnWelsh Literal has a literal meaning. “He who does not cry, does not nurse” is the literal translation. That’s quite different from the title of this posting. – tchrist May 11 '13 at 12:27
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    Chinese always say "会哭的孩子有奶吃" which is identical translation. – est Jul 23 '14 at 6:38

The English equivalent would be, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." I don't recognize the milk idiom though.

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    "The crying baby gets the milk" does seem to have English roots and relatively common usage; perhaps more in B.E. than A.E. – KeithS Jul 20 '11 at 16:35
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    Not to this B.E. speaker. Never heard it before. – Colin Fine Jul 20 '11 at 16:49
  • @Colin. This native B.E. speaker has heard neither the 'crying baby' idiom nor the 'squeaky wheel' idiom previously. – TrevorD May 11 '13 at 13:59

It's actually from Tamil, meaning "if you want something you must ask for it".

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    I count no fewer than 10 errors in that one small line. This may be a new record. – tchrist May 10 '13 at 23:35

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